Standing Guard ~ All in the Family!

In early April this year, I made my first trip to Assateague Island on the eastern shore of Virginia.  I was in search of shorebirds like the Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, White Egret and ducks.  I had already photographed a number of geese in the marshes and lakes near home and wasn’t planning on photographing geese while in Assateague.  

This painting entitled Standing Guard, is from a passing shot that I quickly took, while busy looking for other birds.  There was something about the lighting that caught my eye.  The warm sunlight was hitting the two geese just right and I thought, “Might as well take a picture.”  It wasn’t until I downloaded the image that I realized what I had!

  Standing Guard , 12 x 18, Oil on Board by William R. Beebe

Standing Guard, 12 x 18, Oil on Board by William R. Beebe

There, floating beside the protective mother goose were six little, yellowy, fuzzy goslings.  The mate, standing a close distance away, is standing tall in the shallow wetland habitat, on the lookout for danger, willing to protect his mate and the nesting young at all cost.    

I like the story that this picture tells.  Canadian geese are very family oriented.  Here the young ones are near shore, guarded on both sides by their parents.  They’re out of the wind, somewhat camouflaged and sheltered by the long grasses and the sloping berm.  Snapping turtles and birds of prey are always a danger to the little ones.

The flat, calm water close to shore, with its reflections, becomes rippled from the wind further from shore.  The brownish grasses, intermixed with blades of green indicate that it’s early spring and warmer weather is right around the corner.  It won’t be long until the goslings are all grown up.  

I enjoyed painting this scene very much.  I hope my painting catches your eye the way the scene caught mine that day on Assateague Island.  I would love to hear from you what you think and would appreciate your comments.  Thanks!

On a side note - I’ll be entering this painting into the Oil Painters of America juried exhibition this fall.